Much like the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it trends of the fashion and beauty worlds, technology comes and goes: from the iPod classic to the kitchen radio, technological obsolescence is a fast fact of our daily existence. In light of this constantly shifting tech scene, can there ever be such a thing as a digital heirloom? Certain proponents of wearable technology would respond with a confident yes.
Indeed, a growing number of start-ups believe that the future of ‘wearables’ should start with traditional design, with ‘smart’ functionality remaining secondary. In a scene that has seen the most noise around the Apple Watch, Sony has responded with an E-Ink watch that uses customisable electronic paper. The creators of Nike Fuelband, meanwhile, are working on old-fashioned wristwatches under their Minus-8 line.
But it’s not just watch designers that are turning to tradition in a bid to commercialize the marriage between technology and fashion. The wedding ring – that most traditional, and priceless, of accessories – is in prime position for a digital makeover. Royal College of Art graduate Alice Wang has designed a wedding ring that replaces the traditional diamond with a digital display: showing a digital countdown of the number of days the couple agree to be married for – needless to say, “forever” doesn’t apply.
Perhaps a more appealing prospect is a conceptual smart locket from design studio Artefact Group. Their smart locker presents a 21st-century update of traditional heirloom jewellery, as it wirelessly interacts with the wearer’s social networks to digitally display photographs of friends and family. The design team behind the Purple Locket is currently exploring options for bringing the design to the commercial market, but it remains a concept for the time being.
Reported by Claire Healy